What are Good Agricultural Practices?

Good agricultural practices (GAP) are operational measures which are aimed towards the prevention or minimization of risks to food safety by establishing minimum requirements for preventing or minimizing the risks of hazards to food, the environment, worker health, safety and welfare, and produce quality, in fresh fruit and vegetable production, harvest and post-harvest handling.

It is expected that compliance with the requirements for GAP will not only assure consumer health and safety but will enhance the international reputation of Trinidad and Tobago for producing good quality and safe fresh produce. The application of GAP can subsequently have a positive impact on the trade and competitiveness of the country’s primary agricultural products. It is incumbent on the owners of farms and other types of primary food establishments to demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the establishment, implementation and maintenance of GAP.

Who developed the National GAP Standard?

Trinidad and Tobago Standard for Good Agricultural Practices – Fresh Produce Requirements (TTS 648:2020) was developed by a Specification Committee for Good Agricultural Practices lead by the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS), chaired by Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture – Trinidad and Tobago (IICA-TT).

The Specification Committee also comprised of organisations such as Division of Food Production, Forestry and Fisheries – Tobago House of Assembly, Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Inspectorate - Ministry of Health, Environmental Management Authority (EMA), Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Caribbean Industrial Research Institute, National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation, Food and Agriculture Organization, Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Certification and Standardization Divisions – Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards.The National GAP Standard (TTS 648:2020) was published in 2020 and is available for purchase both in the e-copy and print via TTBS website and Standardization Office.

What is the National GAP Standard about?

The need for this standard was identified by NAMDEVCO in order to build and assure food safety and quality for primary production of fresh produce. This standard establishes the relevant elements that are compatible with comprehensive food safety management systems, including Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), GlobalG.A.P, ISO/TS 22002-3, Prerequisite programmes on food safety — Part 3: Farming, Food Safety System Certification (FSSC 22000 ) for Food Safety Management System and BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, and any other associated certification schemes.

This standard establishes minimum requirements of good agricultural practices for fresh produce, inclusive of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and root crops, at production, harvesting, post-harvest handling, packaging, storage, or transportation stages and where offered for sale or supply for direct consumption or further processing. The requirements of this standard are generic and apply to all farms and packing facilities, for fresh produce, regardless of the production system, size or complexity of the operations. This standard does not apply to minimally processed produce such as cut fruits and vegetables.

Who is the National GAP Standard intended for?

Producers of fresh produce – to inform their internal food safety and quality management systems, where the primary responsibility for compliance to the requirements of this standard is that of top management.

Technically competent persons, inspectors and internal auditors – to facilitate inspections and determine producer compliance to the requirements of this standard.

Certification bodies – to provide the basis for third party audits and certification of farms.

Buyers of Fresh Produce – to be used in purchasing arrangements/contracts as a reference document outlining the requirement to be engaged.

How was the National GAP Standard developed?

The project consisted of five (5) stages which are as follows:

  • Stage 1 Research and Planning – Conducting of necessary documentary and market research, and establishment of the Specification Committee for GAP.
  • Stage 2 Formulation of Draft Standard - reviewing the requirements of the base document and referenced standards, identifying the modifications necessary for local application, and preparing and editing the draft standard, with the input of the Specification Committee.
  • Stage 3 Soliciting of Stakeholder Feedback - Issuing the draft standard for Public Comment, hosting stakeholder consultations and disposing of comments by the Specification Committee, and final editing.
  • Stage 4 Approval – submission for review by the Technical and Marketing Committee of the TTBS Board, approval by the TTBS Board of Directors, and publication of the Gazette Notice (Notice of Declaration of a Trinidad and Tobago Standard).
  • Stage 5 Publication and promotion – In-house publication of the National Standard and conducting of joint promotional activities with NAMDEVCO.

How can one access the document?

Print copy is available for purchase at the Standards Information Centre.

The Centre’s opening hours are Monday-Thursday 8am-4:15pm and Friday 8am-4pm.

Please note however, that the cashier’s opening hours are Monday-Friday 8am-3pm.

Contact – Tel: (868) 662-8827 Ext 2033 | Fax: (868) 663-4335 | ttbs@ttbs.org.tt

E-copy is available at the TT Standards Store via the TTBS Website: Click here.

Request our Farm Monitoring Programme: Click here

Next steps and any other relevant information

The implementation plan follows these main steps :-

  • National GAP Standard Development
  • National GAP Certification Scheme Development
  • Determine Players in GAP Certification Scheme
  • Determine Regulatory Framework
  • TTGAP Certification Scheme Documentation Development
  • Certification Body Establishment
  • TTGAP Certification Scheme Introduction
  • Producer Preparation

What is the NGAPP?

NAMDEVCO has been leading the development of a National Good Agricultural Practices Programme (NGAPP) over the years along key agencies within the agricultural sector. The agricultural sector needs this programme to enable its growth and development to meet the demands and changing environment. The NGAPP as highlighted in the implementation plan above covers all the activities and projects involved in the development and implementation of the National Certification Scheme for Good Agricultural Practices for Trinidad and Tobago.